a flashback for public health week

Three cheers for processed food — 60 years ago. This 1953 ad from the American Trucking Association contrasts with the 2013 perception of processed food.
Three cheers for processed food — 60 years ago. This 1953 ad from the American Trucking Association contrasts with the 2013 perception of processed food.

While working on a piece for the Society of Professional Journalists’ Quill magazine, I came across this ad from a 1953 issue of Quill »

Part of me laughs at the way the American Trucking Association characterizes this as a “distribution miracle,” but I also shake my head, knowing the problems processed foods pose today.

Innovation, social impact and practicality have to balance each other out — it’s a fascinating conundrum. Processed food undoubtedly revolutionized food consumption, but it had a negative impact on the state of U.S. public health. There’s the argument that people need to understand what they’re eating, and then they’ll make better choices, but education has its limits. As someone who spends more time than I’d like at the grocery store reading ingredients labels, I understand the temptation of efficient ignorance.

I had a laugh when I saw this ad, but I suppose processed-food advertising hasn’t come that far (i.e. High Fructose Corn Syrup).

Sigh.

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